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#Pirates #Caribbean #JackSparrow
1. Ali Bitchin, I’m not making that up; that was really his name, was a renegade – a Christian who converted to Islam and built a mosque in Casbah that bears his name still today. When he was 10, he was among a group of people captured in 1578 by the King of Algiers. He was then bought as a slave and learned privateering, and eventually took command of the Algerian Navy and reigned supreme over the Mediterranean. As a pirate, he was liked and admired, but he was also very much feared, attacking ships even bigger than his own and taunting his enemies in doing so. He and his crews would capture Christian slaves and he was said to have more than 500 all-white slaves. His many sea attacks landed him a great deal of wealth. Dude! That’s just bitchin’.
2. Edward Teach was better known as Blackbeard. He had a big image to uphold, so before each battle he would dress himself all in black and topped it off with a very large black captain’s hat. He strapped up many pistols to his chest and would even ignite slow-burning fuses in his hair and beard to give him an incredibly spooky look. The sputtering fuses gave off smoke and he looked like he was emerging from an eerie fog. Just by looking at him, most of his sea victims surrendered their cargo immediately, feeling that they were on the short end of the stick with the devil. Eventually, however, he was killed and left with five bullet wounds and 20 sword plunges on his body. His head was cut off and saved to collect a bounty and his body was tossed into the sea. Legend has it that his body swam around the ship three times before sinking.
3. Ching Shih was a Cantonese prostitute in Guangzhou before being captured by pirates and eventually marrying one of them. She quickly rose to leadership herself in the early 19th century and eventually was in command of between 20,000 and 40,000 pirates who were men, women and children. She made attacks on the British, Portuguese and the Qing dynasty, and if any of her crew gave her any crap, they were beheaded on the spot. And she had a rule on sex with female captives; if you were caught raping one, you were put to death; if it was discovered the sex was consensual, the pirate was beheaded and the woman would have cannonballs attached to her legs and was thrown overboard. You just didn’t screw around with THIS pirate chick. As it turns out, Ching Shih was one of the few pirates to actually retire from her occupation.
4. For 13 years, Jeanne de Clisson swashbuckled the seas in the 14th century. Before all that fun, she married a man named Olivier, but when his loyalties to King Phillip VI were questioned, he was captured and tried for treason. On Aug. 2, 1343, he was beheaded and his head was put atop a pole and displayed outside the castle of Bouffay. Needless to say, Jeanne was pissed and swore vengeance against the king and Charles de Blois, the man who spread the rumors about her husband. So she sold her properties and rounded up a small force of men and attacked French forces in Brittany. She then bought three warships and had everything on them painted black. She would attack and kill entire crews but leave one to go to the king and tell him she and the Black Fleet had struck again. With this, she became known as “The Lioness of Brittany.” Although she was not able to take out personal vengeance on the king and de Blois before both died, she caused substantial damage to their sea forces. She remarried in 1356 and retired from her pirate ways.
5. Jean Lafitte was a French-American pirate in the early 19th century in the Gulf of Mexico. He captured ships and smuggled stolen goods into New Orleans. And he was definitely a Billy Jean bad ass. Once, when the Louisiana governor offered $300 for his capture (hey, 300 bucks was a LOT back then) Lafitte himself offered $1,000 for the governor’s capture. King George III promised Lafitte citizenship if he joined the British forces, but, if not, he would shred his Louisiana island to pieces. Lafitte did what any good pirate would do and scoffed at the proposal, warning the Americans that the Brits were coming. But future president Andrew Jackson stepped in and solved the issue, stating that the authorities would release Lafitte’s captured men if he agreed to assist the U.S. Navy. As history goes, this probably helped America from being taken over.